New Year’s Day is right around the corner and that means making 2017 a year of bettering yourself in all aspects.
Unfortunately, many people fall through with their resolutions. In order to hit the ground running on January 1st and ensure that you follow through with your goals there are a few things you can do to help set you up for success.
1. Be Explicit
The biggest problem everyone makes is leaving their goals extremely ambiguous. Saying “I want to lose weight” gives you no specific goal to attain.
There are lots of ways to lose weight, there are lots of ways to measure success at losing weight, and most importantly this tells you nothing with what you should be doing differently on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis.
Your New Year’s Resolutions should be as specific as possible. So instead of saying “I want to lose weight” say “I want to lose 20 pounds.”
Adding onto this, you need to be explicit with your daily changes as well. If your goal is to lose 20 pounds next year, what are you going to change in your diet each day, what are you going to do for exercise each day, etc.?
If you leave your goals in the yearly basis, when the first comes around you will quickly start pushing off attention for these goals since it is early in 2017 and you have plenty of time to work on them later. Resolutions ought to be changes in habits, not just lofty ambiguous goals for where you will be one year from today.
2. Understand the Necessary Steps
In order to achieve your goals and change your daily, weekly, and monthly habits, you need to know what you need to do. If your goals are to lose weight, you need to understand how to eat and exercise properly.
If you want to advance your career, you need to think about what needs to happen for you to make money, get the promotion, move onto a different job you are more passionate about, or whatever it may be. New Year’s Resolutions are all about seeing where you are and where you want to be and figuring out what the path is between the two that you can undertake over the next 365 days.
3. Know Your Limitations
Everyone has been in the position where they see themselves killing it in the next year and they know all the flaws they want to change and what they need to do to change them.
However, these changes run deep in the structure of our daily lives and committing to exercising, picking up hobbies, and more can overwhelm us leading to increased probability of failure.
Know what your limits are in all sense: work, time, energy. A good way to figure this out is to figure out what time and energy requirements each task will take and be generous with these allocations.
Schedule in time to eat and sleep and maintain your life and see if you have budgeted for more than 24 hours in a day. Many times this what people do and where they fail first. Be realistic.
5. Focus on Your Strengths
While understanding and changing your weaknesses is a big part of improving yourself over the course of the next year, sometimes fixing our guilty pleasures serves us no major purpose. If you absolutely kill it at work each day and then binge watch Netflix nightly, there is no real gain, but potentially a detriment, in committing to watching less TV.
Understand what value you can get out of each change in your life and weigh the good with the bad. Maybe you can find a way to spin that relaxation time into a slightly more productive use, such as reading more books or blogging about the shows and movies you watch.
Always know why you want to change something in your life, not only will it help you be a better person but it will also set you up for success.
6. Develop Feedback Loops
You will never be able to commit to your goals if you do not continuously and rigorously check on your progress. Every few days and each week and month you should check up to see if you are actually doing the stuff you said you would.
If you did not and are continuing to not accomplish the tasks, ask yourself why? Is it because you over budgeted for your time, you are being lazy, it does not interest you, or any other slew of reasons?
Whatever it may be, something will pop up and if you do not have a feedback loop in place to catch the slacking early, you risk falling back into old habits and finding yourself in the same place in Dec 2017.
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